Laura has been the Executive Director of the Foundation since 2011. Previously, Laura worked as a fundraiser and external relations professional in universities. She was part of the small team that developed and launched the new School of Pharmacy & Health Sciences Campus at the University of Waterloo. Laura’s extensive experience covers many aspects of the non-profit sector, including major gift fundraising, communications, program development and change management. Laura is Past-Chair of the board of Philanthropic Foundations of Canada, and sits on the pan-Canadian Early Child Development Funders Working Group. She is an active member of the Smart Waterloo Region Advisory Committee, the Waterloo Region Children & Youth Planning Table, and the Early Years System Steering Group.
Abbie is our Manager of Grants and Community Investments. Abbie has been our Manager of Grants and Community Investments since 2015, overseeing the granting cycle and managing special projects to advance the Foundation’s impact. Prior to joining the Foundation, Abbie worked in community and government settings in Toronto and Kitchener where she championed change through community development, outreach, capacity building, program development, and leadership of staff and volunteers. She has worked on numerous initiatives to address a broad range of issues including youth social development, social isolation, diversity and inclusion, accessibility, literacy and neighbourhood place making. As a member of the International Coach Federation, Abbie is a collaborative coach, partnering with individuals and groups on strategy, leadership, and conflict management.
Garry has been our Grants and Administration Officer for more than ten years. Prior to this, he worked as a site foreman and business owner in the commercial metal roofing and cladding industry. Garry’s deep community roots include 15+ years as a coach and board member with minor sports, spanning football, softball and hockey. He is an active volunteer with Sertoma, a service club dedicated to the deaf and hard of hearing, and has also volunteered with the Child Witness Centre.
Emily Van Giessen
Emily joined the Foundation in July 2019 as our Administration and Logistics Coordinator. Prior to joining the team, she worked behind the scenes at a local funeral home, supporting the funeral directors and the families they served. Born and raised in Kitchener, Emily also has experience in Waterloo Region’s not-for-profit sector both as a front-line worker and as a volunteer in a variety of roles.
The Donations Advisory Council helps to review all grant applications and make recommendations based on whether there is a good match between a request and the mission and priorities of the Lyle S. Hallman Foundation.
Susan Joy Hallman
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